Religious Icons Lead The Way To Finding JOY


Logan Hutton, Staff Writer

“Joy is the ultimate source of a meaningful life.” This quote from the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Buddhism, effectively sums up the message that he and Christian Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa advocate for in the documentary “Mission JOY.”

This documentary discusses the lives of these two icons of peace and how they have connected, despite their many differences.

“They are like 8-year-old boys,” Desmond Tutu’s daughter, Mpho Tutu van Furth, said as she
described how her father and the Dalai Lama interact with one another. It can be seen in their
interactions with one another how jovial they are in each other’s presence.

“If anyone can help us live with more joy in the face of the pain in our lives and the pain in our world, it was these two men,” said director Doug Abrams, who described the two as mischievous spiritual brothers.”

“By rights, his holiness should be a sour puss,” Desmond Tutu said regarding the Dalai Lama. The documentary goes into the life of the Dalai Lama and how he was persecuted and forced out of Tibet by the Chinese government. Even though he has experienced oppression throughout his life, he has continued to push for peace.

Tutu’s life has also been filled with strife as black man living in apartheid South Africa, where the majority black population faced extreme oppression at the hand of the white minority. Tutu, who died Dec. 26, 2021, was a leader in the movement to end apartheid.

“It was a moment when you realize black life is cheap,” Tutu said regarding the killings that his community faced.

Even though South Africa was hesitant to let the Dalai Lama into the country due to their trade relations with China, he was eventually let in and spent time with Desmond Tutu.

Even though the Dalai Lama is the face of Buddhism, he still received the Eucharist representing Jesus Christ from Desmond Tutu as a sign of peace.

“His Holiness’s serenity didn’t come ready-made,” Tutu said. “It is like muscles that must be

The peaceful lives both of these men have lived exemplify how one can choose peace
and joy, even in the face of adversity.

The documentary is a companion piece to the international best-selling “The Book of JOY,” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and author Douglas Abrams. Brookdale’s Global Citizenship Project has selected “The Book of JOY” as its global read book for the spring semester and is encouraging faculty across the curriculum to incorporate the book into spring classes.